On the Road to Middle East Peace, the Devil is in the Details

Detail #1 is the fact that President of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) Mahmoud Abbas doesn't have the authority with his own people to make it stick: Whether these talks succeed or collapse, this will probably be the last task for the aging Palestinian leader, also known as Abu Mazen. At 75, Abbas, chairman of …

What do you expect us to do with it, give it to the poor?

This priceless anecdote, from a recent conversation re confirmation on StandFirm: Another move, no LCMS (Lutheran Church Missouri Synod), no CRC (Christian Reformed Church), but an invitation to teach Adult Bible Class at the Episcopal Church (dismal failure; Episcopalians generally have little interest in reading, mush less studying, the Bible). This was before the 1979 …

Élite Panic: A Lesson From Katrina, A Lesson for Today

Rebecca Solnit at The Nation may have unwittingly stumbled upon something in her fifth anniversary article on Katrina: Those in power, on the other hand, often run amok. They did in San Francisco in 1906, when an obsessive fear that private property would be misappropriated led to the mayor's shoot-to-kill proclamation; a massive military and …

National Service Committee of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal: Newsletter, June-August 1981

In digging through some archives, I've put together three issues of the newsletter of the National Service Committee of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal for June-August 1981. There was nothing special in the selection, just what I had available. There is one noteworthy event covered in the June issue: the meeting of Ralph Martin and other …

Book Review: Andreas Killen's 1973 Nervous Breakdown

The New York Times' Maureen Dowd's recent comments about the US having a nervous breakdown with the widespread reaction to Barack Obama, the "Ground Zero Mosque" controversy and the like makes me think of an era when the country had a real nervous breakdown: the 1970's.  In the wake of the 1960's, with all of …

Obama Becomes Nixon: Going After WikiLeaks

It's amazing what happens when the shoe is on the other foot: Pentagon lawyers believe that online whistleblower group WikiLeaks acted illegally in disclosing thousands of classified Afghanistan war reports and other material, and federal prosecutors are exploring possible criminal charges, officials familiar with the matter said. A joint investigation by the Army and the …

Self-Financing Isn't the Whole Deal In Elections

Not in Florida, at least: Despite dumping record-breaking dollars into their maverick political campaigns, self-financed candidates Rick Scott and Jeff Greene trail their opponents heading into Tuesday's primary, according to a new Mason-Dixon poll released late Saturday. Republican Attorney General Bill McCollum now leads Scott 45-36 percent in the survey of likely Republican voters, reversing …

Making Progress Moving Away From Civil Marriage, and a Note about the "Ground Zero Mosque" Controversy

I was encouraged to see the Anglican Curmudgeon's piece Keeping Religion out of Politics, and Vice Versa.  You can see my immediate comments on that post, but it's heartening to finally see some movement on the "conservative" side of the debate over same sex civil marriage towards getting ride of civil marriage altogether.  Earlier this …

There is Nothing Obvious About Barack Obama. And That Includes His Religion.

Irrespective of what Obama's porte-parole might say: White House spokesman Bill Burton said most Americans care more about the economy and wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and "they are not reading a lot of news about what religion the president is." He commented on Air Force One as Obama headed for a vacation in Massachusetts …

Catechises, the Preparation for Baptism and Discipleship

This is the third in a sporadic series on the Catechetical Lectures of St. Cyril of Jerusalem.  The previous article in the series is Catechises and Baptismal Regeneration. In the last piece, I discussed the whole issue of baptismal regeneration and how belief in same was not incompatible with a true transformation of the person …

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